Saturday, December 17, 2011

Three Months and Counting...

The last month has been full of so many things.


A Christmas celebration with other GEM Missionary families

Sight-seeing with a French friend

 Followed by a Christmas market with her

And pretty lights

And hanging out with an American couple I know from the GEM Headquarters who are here on a vision trip

I still go to my three weekly English groups, still meet for my three language exchanges, still go to the prayer meeting every Thursday and church on Sunday. I still think about the lost in France. I still walk past people in the street and wonder if they've ever heard of the Savior. I still feel like I could never do enough. And I'm still learning to rest in the fact that He is enough. I'm still learning to keep praying even when the outlook is dim. Especially when the outlook is dim. I'm still thinking that the outlook always seems kind of dim in France. I'm still trusting, waiting, watching. I'm still learning to trust, wait, and watch. 

In short, things keep going in France. God keeps being faithful, and as a result I keep loving Him more. 

Tomorrow is our special Christmas service. I'm excited to see who shows up, what kind of responses we see, and how God uses this time. I'm also pondering what a Christmas without my family would be like, and the sacrifice becomes so much more real to me all of a sudden. But God is faithful (I can't say it enough), and my confidence in Him is growing. 

Three months and counting and I'm still learning. Three months and counting and I'm thankful for the three months I've already had and the seven months more to look forward to. 

Have I mentioned that God is faithful?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Also known on the North American continent as "Thanksgiving." 

Hello. I'm alive. And I've been informed several times this week that it's been a while since I've updated. I have nothing to say about that except that maybe I had hundreds and hundreds of pictures from Paris and stuff piling up on my memory card and I was much too intimidated to start editing so I thought it might be better to let them pile up for longer. 

Don't worry, you needn't tell me how silly I am. It's been done.

So. "Sssanksgiving", as it is commonly referred to here, is exceptionally fun in France. Let me tell you why.

 First of all, while I did miss being with my family on Thanksgiving, having a huge outreach with five different English conversation groups combined was a pretty good alternative. We had about forty people come to this event, and it was so. much. fun. One of the first things I learned when arriving in France is just how important food is. Believe me, I didn't know the extent of it until now. Great care and much thought goes into meals here. And by golly, I've never had so many different courses in my life!

I've certainly been educated by the French about how one prepares a proper meal. For example, it is best to eat only one type of food at a time. Vegetables are not to be put on the same plate as a meat. And sweet and salty? They don't go together. Putting fruit in meat is weird. And some wines work better with different foods. I couldn't tell you the rules for this one. I only drink what's put in front of me. (Don't worry, there's a limit).

Needless to say, I was not a little ecstatic to do things American style. We gave the people in our conversation groups American recipes so that they could make things like sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie and all things that are important to a traditional Thanksgiving meals. They were a little bit nervous about some of the things since they don't like to mix sweet things with vegetabley things. "You mean you put sugar in your sweet potatoes?" "But pumpkin is meant to be a soup, not a pie!" No no, my little French friends, pumpkin makes for an excellent pie. And cheeseballs and crackers? Delicious. Yes, I know cheese shaped like a ball might seem weird, but it's quite delectable for the taste buds. 

Despite how many rules about eating they knew we were about to break, my French friends were excited to experience our traditions.

The following is a rather hysterical conversation I had with one young man before the meal began:

Him: "So which course is first?"

Me: "We're doing this American style. It all goes on the same plate!"

Him: "The same plate?! But how will it fit?"

Me: "You pile it. And then go for seconds. And thirds."

Him: "But how do we know which wine to drink if we eat everything together?"

Me: "Um... Pick your favorite color." (Okay, I didn't really say that, but I should have. Instead I just said 'I dunno.')

At the end of the meal we were able to share why we celebrate Thanksgiving... to thank God for what He has given us. People shared with others nearby things that they are thankful for, something that doesn't happen in France very often. It was a God-given opportunity to get to know some of these people better and share with them some of the things that are important to us. Please pray that God would continue working in the hearts and lives of these people that we meet with every week. Only a small few out of these forty are believers.

On Sunday we're having a bilingual Christmas service with delicious Christmasy treats afterwards. We've invited all of our English groups to this as well. Pray that they will come and that hearts will respond to the gospel when the Good News is preached!